From early this year I’ve been playing with an Allwiner SoC, the Cubieboard2 is a System on a Chip with 1GHz dual core CPU, 1GB RAM, 4GB NAND, 1 100MB Ethernet port, MicroSD card slot and a bunch of other niceties, expansion ports and what not. It comes preloaded with Android Jelly Bean, but there are several GNU/Linux flavors available.

Sadly I ain’t very fond of none of the available distros, and Slackware has an ARM port which is now officialy endorsed by Patrick Volkerdi himself. So I decided to give it a try.

SlackwareARM has official support for some boards and community support for some others, the main difference is that the official ones work with the standard Slackware installer and the ones supported by the community don’t. Luckly the SlackwareARM team provides a compressed mini-root filesystem with the bare minimal to bootstrap the system.

Here I’ll give only an overview of the steps needed to bootstrap SlackwareARM 14.1 on Cubieboard2. Detailed guidelines are available in Spanish language in Mi Kiwi.

All my hardware runs some sort of Unix like operating system, everything I describe here was done in a laptop running Slackware64 14.1 with multi-lib enabled.

  1. You need to get a miniroot file from here and unpackit somewhere.
  2. You’ll also need the u-boot-sunxi, sunxi-tools, sunxi-boards and linux-sunxi git cloned repositories.
  3. Finally a cross toolchain to build the sources, get one from here. I did choose the arm-2012-03-57-arm-none-linux-gnueabi.
  4. Build the sunxi-tools, u-boot-sunxi and linux-sunxi
  5. Copy the u-boot-with-spl.bin to the mSD
  6. Then copy the resulting uImage kernel and install modules into the rootfs directory.
  7. Edit and compile the Cubieboard2.fex into the script.bin file
  8. Edit the uEnv.txt file
  9. Edit and compile the boot.cmd into boot.scr
  10. Edit rootfs/etc/fstab

Place the mSD card into the Cubieboard2 and boot it, if you have an USB Serial converter you can watch/debug the boot and load of the kernel attaching your terminal to the serial console using either, cu, minicom or screen.

For the lazy bums out there, you can download either, a mSD card image file ready to boot, or the root filesystem compressed and the u-boot-with-spl.bin files to customize your install from MediaFire.